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Female altar servers


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#81 Reader Luke

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Posted 14 February 2016 - 02:54 AM

Revisiting this topic after a few years. I haven't read what I said on this topic from 3 years ago, but a lot has changed for me in that time.

 

I think one thing we can all agree on, is that there's nothing biologically wrong or deficient about a woman that prohibits her from being in the altar.

If it was a case of holiness or purity, then there are certainly many women out there far more worthy, holy & pure than many of us sinful men.

 

What I would say, and I'm surprised that no one has ever brought it up. Is that the altar is considered the Holy of Holies. It's the same as the Holy of Holies in the old temple. It's very sacred space that not even all men can enter, let alone anyone without a purpose or blessing.

The connection is important, because to our knowledge, there was only one woman who ever entered the Holy of Holies, and that was the Theotokos. Even the High Priests couldn't just enter without a rope being tied and bells on their garments for fear of dying.

 

In the same vein, we could argue that this is why women don't enter the altar typically. Not that they are prohibited (since monastic women and deaconesses do for a variety of reasons) from doing so. The Theotokos was the only woman who ever entered into the Holy of Holies, and she eventually bore the Son of God. It isn't that other women aren't "worthy" of it, but because their role in the church is different and because the Theotokos is just so special to us, that we honor her by keeping her and her son as the prime focus in the Holy of Holies.

 

Then there's the practical reason, which is the same reason why men & women were typically separated in churches. The Holy of Holies is such a holy and sacred space, and it's hard enough for the men in there to stay focused and pure of mind/thought that mixing genders together in the altar would invite the sorts of temptations and thoughts that arise out in the normal, everyday world. I think the church recognizes this, and that's why they've traditionally separated men from women, and one of the many reasons why women wear headcoverings. Yes we are in the world, but not of it, and when we are worshipping, we are not in the world, we are in the kingdom, and therefore, things that might be "okay" out in the world aren't okay in church because they can encourage thoughts or actions that are unholy, especially for the children of Christ standing at his throne worshipping him and receiving him.



#82 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 15 February 2016 - 12:04 AM

I think it is a commonplace that the sanctuary has a parallel with the holy of holies, and is to be treated with the utmost reverence. That is why only the priest and those with a blessing to do so to perform a liturgical function may enter. Since females have no liturgical function it follows they cannot be blessed to enter the sanctuary and so should not do so. The argument that females in the sanctuary may pose a temptation to the men there has no relevance. Rather separate from this is where elderly nuns and the hegumenya of a women's monastery enter for non-liturgical reasons. I recall some weeks ago being at the Nativity vigil at Zachatyevsky monastery in Moscow which is a women's monastery, and saw the hegumenya enter the sanctuary apparently to pass information to one of the priests in the sanctuary.



#83 Anthony Cornett

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Posted 10 March 2016 - 10:37 PM

For clarity sake, and perhaps it was already discussed, female monastics do enter for liturgical purposes, at least to the limit of an acolyte's offerings: prepping and handing a censer to the priest, grabbing a procession fan, etc. Whatever is not needed in the altar (such as prepping a hand censer, or grabbing candles next to the icon stands for an entrance) is otherwise handled outside. 



#84 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 10 March 2016 - 10:55 PM

What Anthony describes I have not encountered or heard of. That such things are improper is clarified in posts on the first two pages.


Edited by Rdr Andreas, 10 March 2016 - 11:03 PM.


#85 Peter Simko

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Posted 11 March 2016 - 12:03 AM

As an example, see the video below of the Nativity of the Theotokos Monastery at Saxonburg, PA, during the visit of the Kursk Root icon:

 



#86 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 11 March 2016 - 07:02 AM

I hope other more knowledgeable will comment. What are the rectangular cloths the nuns are wearing (like an aer)? Do nuns in Greek women's monasteries cense the church and people? Why did not the second priest do the censing?



#87 Lakis Papas

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Posted 11 March 2016 - 06:03 PM

Some people see things that are not there!!!

 

Vatican Unveils Frescoes In Catacombs of Priscilla With Images Some Say Show Early Women Priests

 

http://www.huffingto..._n_4305560.html



#88 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 11 March 2016 - 06:14 PM

Some people see what they want to see, indeed. Now, what about this convent in Saxonburg? What is happening there?






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